Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You'll Never Know Just How Much [He Loves] You

Shortly after I created this blog last August, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being deeply affected by her situation, I wrote this post. Since that time, she has been through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and her cancer treatment concludes this week. 

It has been a long and difficult road, but she has traveled it with equal amounts of courage and grace. Most notable has been her determination to continue serving others, even in the midst of her own struggle. At those times when she was too ill for physical activity, she would often go online to her Caringbridge web site and post an uplifting message for all of the "angels" (as she called us) who visited there regularly to support her. The minute she could stand on her own two feet long enough, she baked me a cake and brought it over to my house. Just the other day, despite the fact that these last couple of weeks of radiation have been pretty rough, she left flowers on her visiting teacher's doorstep. I think you get the picture. This woman is one of those who always sees and serves the need, and it wasn't in her paradigm to let a little chemotherapy and radiation stop her. I think you can imagine what a wonderful friend she is, and our entire ward loves her.

The Lord loves her, too, and she knows it. I wish every one of you could have seen the light in my friend's eyes at church Sunday, when she whispered to me that she had awakened with a song in her heart (one she hadn't thought of for years), and that she knew exactly from Whom it came. 

It's an old standard, so you'll probably recognize the words: 

You'll never know just how much I [love] you.
You'll never know just how much I care.
And if I tried,
I still couldn't hide
My love for you,
You ought to know,
For haven't I told you so,
A million or more times?

God speaks to His children in many ways, and I'm glad this musical love note to my friend came wrapped in such a sweet, sentimental package. Perhaps a hymn might have been expected in this context, but this tender song from a more innocent time seems in keeping, somehow, with the Spring that must be brimming in her heart. This week, my friend will bid the winter of cancer treatment farewell and gratefully welcome in the new beginning of a treatment-free life. Surely the hum of day-to-day living is far sweeter when its rhythm has been disrupted by a long and debilitating illness. The dawn shines more brightly after the storm, and I suspect the world will never look or feel quite the same to this wonderful woman. Perhaps that is the one gift cancer gives. 

My friend almost got up to bear her testimony about this unexpected gift of song and spirit, this reminder that we will never know just how much He loves us. In the end, she decided not to stand, as she felt she had shared her testimony "too much" recently. (The truth is, she could bear her testimony every Sunday, twice, and no one would be sorry!) But true to form, she yielded to the needs of others, and perhaps she chose the better part. The two people who spoke (after she decided not to) did have unique experiences to share, strong witnesses to the truthfulness of the gospel. And after the final testimony, she expressed her satisfaction that she had left the time to them, for they had used it well.

Having missed telling it to the congregation, my friend then related her story to me. This morning and with her permission, I am sharing it here, for we all need to be reminded not only how much He loves us, but how often He is willing to remind us of that..."a million or more times." If we will keep our hearts, minds, and spiritual ears open, He will whisper His song of redeeming love to each one of us. And oh, how we will be blessed.

"For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

(For M.)


Lisa Loo said...

i got the book--YEAH!! It is simply beautiful--thank you so much. I am glad you shared this about your friend--I am amazed at her strength and courage. And I can always use the reminder that He loves me!

Natalie said...

Thank you for sharing this. You never disappoint! :)
What a blessing the two of you are in one another's lives. So touching.

Also, I love that scripture!

Nikki Nichols said...

Wow! Sometimes I wish the Saratoga ward and testimony meetings. There is great strength in that ward and your dear sweet "friend" is such a great example to me and has been my whole life. Thanks for sharing... I know too that the Lord speaks to us in special ways, its good to hear how he speaks to his children and in such beautiful ways!

Amy said...

How beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing with us all. Also, thank you for stopping by my blog. I always love making new blogging friends. Thank you for giving us a spiritual thought for the day. It is so easy to get caught up in the mundane things of life.

K2cole said...

What an uplifting post for such a depressing subject. I really liked the scripture and will share it with my daughter.

If I had my one wish - this is what I would wish for all those in this world - To know of the Love of their Heavenly Father.


Momza said...

ohhh certainly she is a gift to those around her...what an inspiration.

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